Posts filed under ‘Special Rants’
Corporations are not people. The people they represent are not necessarily US citizens. And their tax money shows their allegiance to foreign nations. Other than that, the Citizens United case decided by the Supreme Court in 2010 merely violates the balance of power between a free market economy and democracy as a core principle of the American way of life. Political corruption and economic tyranny can be the only outcomes in the end.
Until a corporation can register to vote and walk into a polling place to cast a single vote, it is not a person. In the meantime, however, we have a serious problem thanks to the Citizens United Supreme Court decision in 2010 that determined that corporations were people. Since then, campaigns financed by corporate sponsors have controlled a significant number of elections in the US, effectively hijacking the democratic process from real people. Within individual states, outsiders are determining who will run for office to represent the residents in both houses of the Congress. And, at the national level, presidential politics have similarly come under the control of anonymous PACs of people.
The power money comes from multinational corporations. And their shareholders, to whom they hold allegiance, represent more or less every nation in the world. So, how can a corporate “person” promise us that it is an American citizen and only serves the interests of American people? Decades before the Citizens United case came to court, these same US corporations already had taken tax breaks for supply-side economics and used them to finance the transfer operations out of the US and create jobs in other nations. And this has not been their only odd way of saying thank you in the US.
Outsourcing jobs offshore was supposed to ensure low-cost supply functions, greater profits, and eventual payback in the US. Unfortunately, a lot of profits have remained pooled offshore. And worse, not all of these corporate citizens have been satisfied with their US headquarters. Indeed, the trend has been to find a nation with a lower corporate tax rate*, invest in a small company there, and transfer the corporate assets and headquarters to that foreign office, effectively renouncing US corporate registration. This process, known as corporate inversion, means that taxes on the profits from US tax breaks to support supply-side economics are actually paid to a foreign nation. Even your corner drugstore, Walgreen’s, had considered a corporate inversion recently, but yielded to political pressure to delay action.
Not to worry, our domestic representatives of these foreign corporations will continue to demand supply-side concessions in the wake of our sorry employment situation in the US. And, most ironically, they will continue to win elections supported by the Tea Party faithful and other Cretan Paradox sufferers under the banner of “taking back America.”
As I mentioned in my last post…
“The US is defined by a political economy based on democracy and capitalism. The balance they maintain is essential to our freedom. Free market capitalism – not monopolies – are theoretically protected under our constitution. And, because one must have money to play in the free market, the democratic process allows for political will to be exerted over economic processes if poverty excludes too many Americans from the competition. Yet a bad Supreme Court decision has placed capitalists as the masters of both politics and the economy. This can only end badly if left unchallenged.”
This mess really needs to be cleaned up in 2015. There will be too much at stake in 2016 elections for us to leave our destinies in the hands of the incredibly visible hand of the un-free market.
* Conservatives have used this discrepancy in corporate tax rates to call for lowering rates in the US. However, nations with lower corporate tax rates often have higher personal income tax rates to make up the difference. These same politicians are not likely disclose such details or to seek that balance.
Time to Wake Up & Restore Balance in Our Political Economy Under 1 US flag Only, Please
Apparently the crux of the matter that necessitated the Civil War has not been resolved. Pride in our nation and its basic constructs has not been enough…even 150 years later. Some significant number of Americans believes that their right to honor major proponents of slavery is more important than our belief that all men are created equal…that their right to celebrate Confederate “honor” supersedes the dignity and pursuit of happiness of people of color, people whose ancestors were kidnapped, displaced by an ocean, imprisoned, sold into slavery, and even forced to fight under a Confederate flag. Ironically, many offenders are political conservatives who seek to “take back America” while turning a blind eye to the deepest erosion of American values.
The American way of life is at risk. Corporations are people [sic] who dominate our formerly representative form of government based on democratic elections. Voting rights are no longer guaranteed to be free or accessible to all. More than half of American school children live in poverty, and most have no access to equity in education, both potent dream killers. Liberty and justice are mired in racial bias. And freedom of assembly carries more weight for white people than non-white people, for the rich more so than the poor. In short, our words are being undermined by our actions. All people are not born equal.
The US is defined by a political economy based on democracy and capitalism. The balance they maintain is essential to our freedom. Free market capitalism – not monopolies – are theoretically protected under our constitution. And, because one must have money to play in the free market, the democratic process allows for political will to be exerted over economic processes if poverty excludes too many Americans from the competition. Yet a bad Supreme Court decision has placed capitalists as the masters of both politics and the economy. This can only end badly if left unchallenged.
The skirmishes over Southern heritage and honor have become a smoke screen over the unseen concessions to the larger American way of life under the US Constitution. We cannot protect our deepest constructs unless we collectively embrace concepts of freedom for all, equal access under the law, and protection from economic tyranny. Instead, however, our society is becoming polarized and ethnocentric as we protect shrinking shares of wealth while economic and political power is increasingly concentrated for the 1% at the top of an oligopoly.
Why isn’t America enough for the Confederate flag wavers? The reflections of too many people over the past and their unrepentant obsession with the dubious tyranny of white supremacist thought are mind-boggling. Give it up. We face real challenges to our greater way of life. We can only rebuild our nation in the words of our founding fathers if we collectively walk the walk of the free and the brave even as we acknowledge the profound irony of the flawed society in which those words were written.
Or…The Real Story Behind the Fight over the ACA
The Afffordable Care Act (ACA) or ObamaCare, as it is often known, is a blessing or a curse depending on whether you are a Conservative or a Progressive. While counterintuitive, the short-term economic objectives of the two camps are directly at odds. And, until there are more money machines on the horizon, we can expect Republicans to cling to their myopic market view. The trouble is…healthcare that is not allowed to keep us well efficiently will ultimately kill us in the economy, too.
Democrats and Republicans draw opposite conclusions from the same data on healthcare. And the harder the Progressive Democrats try to demonstrate that the facts are on their side with the ACA…the more the Republicans persist in their push for its repeal.
The ACA is reaching uninsured Americans, providing them healthcare, and lowering the inflation rate for that healthcare…all at the same time. And adding healthcare benefits for millions of workers has co-existed with jobs growth and lower unemployment across the US, the exact opposite of the doomsday predictions that bolstered Conservative opposition to the ACA. Where’s the bad news in that?
Well, if you are a Republican and all you have to show for your three decades of alleged supply-side economics is growth in the healthcare and real estate markets, efficiencies in either sector cause damage to their world views. My health economics rant from a few years ago summarized how healthcare costs crowd out other investments in our economy, yet are paradoxically embraced by conservatives because of all the short-term benefits of stock performance, employment, and strong multipliers.
For Conservatives, it is the story of the Goose that Laid the Golden Egg. For the rest of us, there is a sequel…the Goose that Ate Its Own Golden Egg.
There is no good end game to allowing healthcare to crowd out the rest of the US economy. And turning healthcare into a privilege that is inaccessible to growing numbers of Americans can only be seen as a failure in the market. But there seems to be no easy way to get Republican Congressmen, who are up for election every two years, to put aside their reading glasses and see the danger that lies ahead.
We need non-health-related investment opportunities to replace the healthcare sector as stock market darlings. And we need our keepers of capitalism to open their eyes to this need rather than clamoring to hang onto market inefficiencies in healthcare that are unsustainable. In the meantime, we must turn our disbelief into cynicism and add education about the future of our economy without management of the healthcare monster to the charts on the ACA. It probably won’t penetrate the collective consciousness of the Conservative brain distrust, but it may help motivate us keep our eyes on the prize in this very important battle for a strong economy and a healthy populace.
We may have crossed a line without knowing it. Politicians may be selling influence on the international markets without a trace of evidence through political action committees (PACs). And the appearance of conducting foreign affairs out of Legislative offices suggests a breakdown of the separation of powers owing to the Executive branch. This would seem like a case for the Supreme Court…if only they had not caused the problem in the first place.
Whoever is the keeper of the US Constitution is doing a shoddy job. Corporations and wealthy power brokers already have exerted undue influence over our democratic process with the blessings of a conservative majority on the Supreme Court. Once blurred, the lines of campaign finance may have been crossed again in the last Presidential election when Mitt Romney made three high-profile stops overseas for “fund raisers” in which “only the American participants” were allowed to write the checks. One of the stops was Israel, where Mr. Romney assured all in attendance that he would support the military decisions of the Israelis were he to be elected President of the United States. Fortunately, that promise was not put to the test.
Now Israel’s Prime Minister has been invited by the Speaker of the House to address Congress on his concerns over the State Department’s negotiations with Iran over nuclear weapons. And a group of US Senators has sent a letter to Iran warning that the next US President could overturn treaties with great efficiency.
It is time to start looking for the money trail. If this is treason…it must end now.